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Iraqi troops have recaptured the Mosul mosque where ISIS declared its caliphate three years ago.
After eight months of grinding urban warfare, Iraqi government troops on Thursday captured the ruined mosque at the heart of Islamic State’s de facto capital Mosul, and the prime minister declared the group’s self-styled caliphate at an end. Iraqi authorities expect the long battle for Mosul to end in coming days as remaining Islamic State fighters are bottled up in just a handful of neighborhoods of the Old City.
The seizure of the nearly 850-year-old Grand al-Nuri Mosque — from where Islamic State proclaimed the caliphate nearly three years ago to the day — is a huge symbolic victory. “The return of al-Nuri Mosque and al-Hadba minaret to the fold of the nation marks the end of the Daesh state of falsehood,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement, referring to the hardline Sunni Mulsim group by an Arabic acronym.
The fall of Mosul would in effect mark the end of the Iraqi half of the IS caliphate, although the group still controls territory west and south of the city, ruling over hundreds of thousands of people.
Its stronghold in Syria, Raqqa, is also close to falling.
This defeat of ISIS by Iraqi government forces has been building for months as they have been pushing steadily but slowly forward in heavy street fighting in Mosul. The victory is even more significant in that it has been achieved by Iraq, not American forces, though they have been happily allied with us, and have gladly taken our aid.
Will this victory lessen Islamic radicalism worldwide? No, not likely. The last eight years of bad foreign policy has allowed this evil to fester. It will take a lot more than just the fall of ISIS to cleanse the wound. We still have the Iran government and numerous terrorists organizations running governments throughout the Middle East that are their allies. They are not going away, and their goal of destroying the infidel remains.